Since the Soviet Union was too soft for his tastes, there were only two countries that Che found truly admirable: Maoist China and Kim Il Sung's North Korea. He bragged that there was "not a single discrepancy" between Mao's world view and his own. As Che was happily fawning over Mao in the flesh in Beijing, in the surrounding countryside there was an epidemic of mothers cutting off the flesh from their inner thighs to feed it to their starving children. The programme that caused this biting hunger - the mass collectivisation of the farms - represented "true socialist morality", Che said. The dictator killed 70 million people in the end, cheered on by his guerrilla friend at every stage.
Of course, Che's defenders act as if this was the only choice confronted by Latin Americans: you were either for US-imposed market fundamentalism, or for Maoist Communism. But you don't have to look very far in Che's life to see that this is a lie. His diaries show that he was constantly appalled to discover that almost everyone around him, including the revolutionaries fighting by his side, did not share his Maoist vision for the future. His first wife, Hilda Gadea, was a social democrat. She wanted to depose the US-backed tyrants - and then replace them with moderate, Swedish-style mixed economies. Che ridiculed and pilloried her as "bourgeois", before abandoning both her and their child.